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2009 marks our 23rd year of producing the Cal Rep Show in Santa Cruz.
I started the show in 1987 while repping Quiksilver in Northern California. My one small duffle bag of boardshorts turned into multiple rolling racks and a two hour presentation and before I knew it driving all over Norcal didn’t make sense.
I decided that if I could get the other top lines at the time, namely, Billabong, Rusty, Rip Curl, Oneill, and a few others together and feed everyone free lunch, it should be worthwhile for all. So far so good.
For a time, I was producing 12 shows per year, 4 in Santa Cruz, 4 in Arizona, 4 in Oregon, and an on-snow demo at Donner Summit that I once got pneumonia during and I didn't even show up. I once produced a show in a tent behind the Waterfront Hilton in Huntington Beach. With reps lined up side by side on both sides of the rectangular tent, it was like walking down the red carpet with reps like paparazzi trying to get the retailers attention. Ron and Bobby from Jacks told me they could never come back as it was too small a venue and created too much pressure for them.
Once I a got a legitimate job in '99 I gave up Arizona, turned the Oregon one over to the locals (now I don't think they let Californians in) and kept the Santa Cruz shows.
NorCal Rep Show Action Sports Industry:
The biggest shows each year are in September, when reps are pre-booking spring for the next year. Most of the major swim reps from S.Cal attend this show and I assume most of the swim shops in Norcal also attend. A good Spring show is 100 reps and 120 retailers. The next show is summer and usually it's in January. Summer typically has 60-80 reps and 100 retailers. Next show is Fall in mid March. March show has 40-60 reps and 80 retailers. The Holiday show occurs in June or May, whatever my polling reps want. I don’t print a calendar ahead of time because I try to remain flexible to reps ever-changing production calendars.